Fish farming is a major type of aquaculture as it involves rearing of fish in tanks or enclosures mainly for commercial or subsistent purposes.
Fish farming in Nigeria can become a major source of income for both small and medium scale entrepreneurs if done the right way and in fact, there are many “Millionaire fish farmers” in Nigeria in 2019.
Another vital thing to be noted is that not all species of fish can be reared in Nigeria.
Fishes that are mostly farmed in Nigeria are those that thrive well in Nigeria due to either favourable rearing condition or ready market available for such.
Because of these conditions, the species of fish that are mostly reared commercially by most Nigerian fish farmers are salmon, tilapia and catfish.
Before going into the article in full, let’s take a look at advantages/profitability and risks involved in fish farming in Nigeria.
Advantages/Profitability Of Fish Farming In Nigeria
1) Fish Is Very Popular
There’s virtually no family in Nigeria that doesn’t consume fish and this makes fish farming business in Nigeria very profitable.
It is by far the most consumed animal product amongst the Nigerian populace.
2) Easy To Sell
The popularity of fish products amongst the Nigerian populace makes it extremely easy to sell.
It is a hot commodity in the Nigerian market and sells faster than any other animal product in the Nigerian market thanks to its price when compared with its counterparts.
3) Good Source Of Protein
Fish and other seafood are one of the best sources of protein you can find on Earth.
The fact that fish is the cheapest form of protein you can get in the Nigerian market makes it extremely marketable in the country.
Fish is also very rich in calcium and phosphorus and a great source of rich minerals, such as iron, zinc, iodine, magnesium, and potassium which play a vital role in the development of the human body system.
4) Swift Maturity
Fish matures very fast if bred the right way. Fish farming also gives farmers the opportunity to employ various feeding methods in order to increase the yield of their fish.
5) Fish Farming Is Profitable
With the way fish sells in Nigeria, you can be sure that investing in a fish farm in Nigeria can be very profitable.
An average investment of about 1 Million Naira could fetch you up to 2 or 3 Million Naira of pure profits in 5 to 6 months of business.
6) No Environmental Hazards
Unlike other farming methods that involve animals which could hamper the well being of humans and other animals living around that place (pig farming is a good example), fish farming when done the right way does not affect the environment in a bad way.
What this means is that you can set up your fish farm anywhere you like – your compound (if it is spacious enough), residential areas, business areas and so on without worrying about the harms that your fish farm could cause to the environment and people living or doing business around your farm.
7) Other Advantages
- Fish is a major source of Omega 3 and other important minerals needed by the human body system
- You could also make money by teaching others about the business
Problems Associated With Fish Farming In Nigeria
Below are some of the risks involved in fish farming in Nigeria.
- Workers Safety
- Setup costs
- Could cause land poisoning
Generally, most of the problems associated with fish farming can be greatly avoided by having proper knowledge of the trade before nurturing the idea of setting up a fish farm in Nigeria.
Methods Of Fish Farming In Nigeria
The methods of fish farming in Nigeria are through extensive and intensive aquaculture.
Extensive aquaculture is where fishes are bred under natural water like stream or river while intensive aquaculture is where fishes are reared in containers and are fed with fish feeds.
The Extensive method of fish breeding in Nigeria is the easiest and cheapest way to start a fish farm while the intensive method is a bit costlier, but generally easier to manage than the Extensive method.
Fish Species That Can Be Bred In Nigeria
Like I mentioned earlier in this article, not all fish species can be bred in Nigeria this is because of various factors that might affect the production and sales of your products.
The most popular species of fish that are farmed in Nigeria are provided below:
1) Cat Fish
Although Catfish is not the species of fish that is mostly eaten in Nigeria, it is the most cultivated species of fish in the country.
The reason for this is that it is the species of fish that is the easiest to farm.
Many people go into catfish farming in Nigeria because it is the simplest type of fish species to farm.
Tilapia is the second most reared fish species in Nigeria after the catfish. Tilapia naturally lives in fresh shallow water.
Tilapia are as well very easy to farm and are more widespread in the Nigerian market. It has a fast and rapid yield.
3) Mackerel (Titus)
Mackerel is the species of fish that is mostly eaten by the Nigerian population but unfortunately, it is not even farmed in the country.
It is the species of fish that is popularly known as Titus.
All the mackerel fish in the Nigerian market are caught straight from the Nigerian waters (seas an oceans) because this species of fish only survives in salty deep water.
Presently, many farmers are currently experimenting tirelessly to find out whether it is possible to create an artificial environment similar to seawater. This is to see if it will be possible to rear the tilapia fish commercially in Nigeria.
Until these experiments are concluded successfully, if you plan on going into fish farming in Nigeria, it is better to focus only on catfish and tilapia if you hope to make more financial gain.
Materials Needed For Fish Farming In Nigeria
Fish can be reared in any location because does not constitute any form of danger to the environment or the people living around.
Generally, we advise that you get an affordable piece of land which you can pay for without tampering with the funds meant for purchasing other items/services for your new fish farm.
The size of land you will acquire depends on your start-up capital and the size of farm you want to establish. The average size of the fish farm can be done in a plot of land.
Nevertheless, if you want to go for a bigger plot of land, it is perfectly okay so long as you can afford it.
2) Fish Ponds
Get an expert to build the fish pond for you. Alternatively, you can go for a survey on another fish farm and obtain the construction plan to help you with an idea of how to go about with your own.
The plumbing work must be properly done to ensure proper drainage of the water when it needs to be changed.
Below are the different types of ponds that are popularly used by Nigerian fish farmers.
- Eartherned Fish Ponds
- Concrete Fish Ponds
- Embankment Fish Ponds
- Plastic Fish Ponds
To do fish farming successfully, you need a sufficient supply of water (lots of it).
Adequate water supply will determine to a great extent the success of your fish farm.
Inadequate supply of water may lead to massive death and failure due to the fact that the water in the fish pond ought to be changed on the constant interval.
You need a natural source of water or borehole to be able to efficiently do fish farming. Rainwater and tap water are not good for fish farming.
Setting up your fish pond is one thing, and making sure all your materials and fish are safe is another.
Generally, we advise you do a concrete fence and install barb wires around it as this will at least provide a level of security for your fish pond.
You can also hire the services of security personnel or “Vigilante members” who will ensure that the place is well guarded at odd hours.
5) Healthy Fingerlings
Starting a small scale fish farm in Nigeria with healthy fingerlings is the number one key to your success.
Basically, a Fingerling is a juvenile fish which is needed to start any fish farm.
You can get Fingerlings of your selected fish species from another fish farm that specializes in selling them.
Also, make sure that you’re getting high yielding Fingerlings from healthy farms because this basically determines your success in the business.
6) Adequate Training
The importance of getting adequate training about this business can’t be overemphasized because this is basically the stepping stone for your success in the business.
You need to get a complete orientation about this business from how to feed the fish to the types of fingerlings you should buy and many other things you need to learn before even starting out.
These type of knowledge can’t be gotten from one-day seminars. You need at least 3 months of intensive training for you to properly understand how fish farming in Nigeria works.
7) Water Reservoir
Like the name says, a water reservoir is basically a tank (can be overhead) that helps you to store the water which will be supplied to your ponds (artificial or natural).
The tanks have to be well connected to your ponds by a good plumber so as to enable the proper supply of water to the ponds.
Below are some other materials you’ll be needing to start your fish pond in Nigeria.
- Fish feeds